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    14 Replies Latest reply on Mar 6, 2008 2:00 PM by Lighthouse24

    How can I trust what you are saying?

    Iwrite Pioneer
      A co-worker on a project after finding out my religious beliefs asked, "Working in advertising, how can you reconcile lying for clients with your religious beliefs?"

      Wow. I was stunned. I know everyday folks don't trust advertising professionals, we rank right above used cars sales people at the bottom of the survey on the most trusted occupations. But to hear this from someone who works in the adverting industry threw me for a loop.

      Then, I got angry. "Advertising like sales is not about lying or over promising, it is about finding the benefit of the product or service as it relates to the target audience and communicating it to them. I do not lie for clients. Now, I've had clients lie to me about what their products will do but they are not my client anymore. What we do is about building trust, lying destroys trust."

      Sometimes I speak my mind too quickly. Looking at his face, I realized why people don't trust us, some of us have been knowingly lying to people.

      How can customers trust what your marketing and advertising is saying about your products or services?
        • Re: How can I trust what you are saying?
          tigerente Wayfarer
          I personally don't use any marketing or advertising beyond word of mouth. I am a dog walker and pet sitter. I network with other dog walkers and pet sitters and my clients refer me to their friends and coworkers. Because of this, I don't have to rely on what my advertising is saying about me. FOr the same reason, I do not put my business name or info on my vehicle like a lot of people do. I don't want people to complain about me or my driving :). I know that people wouldn't refer me to their friends if they didn't like my services. I had the ability though to slowly transition from my previous employer to the dog walking. It has taken me 2.5 years to build my mini empire and if I had to do it all over again, I might have jumped in head first and been more aggressive with advertising. But would it have gotten me here any faster, I don't know.
          • Re: How can I trust what you are saying?
            Lighthouse24 Ranger

            Hmmm, I would have thought lawyers, politicians, and multilevel marketers were lower than advertisers on the "trustworthy image" list! Two things we do to promote trust is stick to facts and resolve problems.

            We "market" the company in many ways, but when we "advertise," it is to promote a specific product or event. Most often, the goal of our ads is simply to make people aware of that something exists (it's like advertising a concert - you're not trying to sell the artist, the venue, or the concept of live music - you're mostly just providing factual information). Our informal philosophy is to "under-promise and over-deliver." What I mean is we don't hype a seminar (to use one example) and say it's the best program you'll ever attend (we just advertise "who, what, when, where . . .") -- but when you show up, I will try to make it the best program you'll ever attend.

            That said (and as much as this might have shocked my mom), not everybody loves me. It's possible that our advertising will attract customers who, for whatever reason, aren't getting what they (or we) had hoped for from one of our products. I'm not offended by that, and I don't take it personally (a lot of small business owners do!). After all, you can name the best something (movie, song, food, vacation spot, anything) and you'll find people who absolutely hate it. So my goal is to accept their complaints or criticisms as legitimate, with no argument, and then try to make things right by sending "dissatisfied" customers away with more than they had before they saw our ad (for example, refund their money and give them a gift card for gas or a restaurant). Even if they didn't like that product, at least maybe they'll like us. They may actually consider us for other products in the future (it has happened).

              • Re: How can I trust what you are saying?
                Iwrite Pioneer
                LOL. "That said (and as much as this might have shocked my mom), not everybody loves me."
                • Re: How can I trust what you are saying?
                  AppleGraphics Adventurer
                  Lighthouse I have to say that I am impressed with your business ethic. It is hard for me to imagine being able to afford not only refunding a customers money but also giving them a parting gift. That being said if we have a dissatisfied customer we will attempt to rectify the situation by changing the parameters of the job to fit what they were expecting and re-run it at no cost to them (if we misunderstood what they wanted or made a mistake.
                    • Re: How can I trust what you are saying?
                      Lighthouse24 Ranger

                      Thanks for the compliment, AppleGraphics. I wouldn't expect all enterprises to be able to follow the specific example I gave. It probably won't work at all unless your revenue model was built on repeat business. It works better when there is employee profit sharing. It works best when your customer base is already familiar with the general product or service you're offering.

                      For example, your business might get a small print order (250 business cards, 100 announcements, something like that) from a first time customer. If the customer is happy with the result, great -- you'll probably get repeat business and maybe some good referrals. (In my business, that's where all the profit is -- repeat purchases and referrals.)

                      If the customer is unhappy with the print job (even if the reason is ridiculous or it was his error/miscommunication that caused the problem), it might be better to rerun the job at your cost -- or simply take it back, refund the money, and provide a $10 gift card toward having the work done at another shop. The reason is because if he leaves dissatisfied, there's no potential for future business from him anyway, and he'll spread a negative message which makes it harder for you to get new customers. However, if you can send him away better off than he was when he came in initially, he will be less likely to "badmouth" you, and he may even say good things or give you another try down the road. (Plus, the resolution process will let you recognize if this is a "chronically difficult" customer, and if so, you can save yourself a lot of future grief.)

                      Obviously, there is a financial "sting" when you eat the cost -- and when employees feel that sting (they realize it's costing them money), they get much better at communicating with customers on the front end of transactions -- to ensure that they're not giving away their profits on the back end. That's why I said it works better in profit sharing environments.

                      In my experience as a print customer, problems occur when shop employees take a "one size fits all" approach to dealing with clientele, when in fact, your clientele can be quite extreme -- from people who give you black and white masters expecting color copies, to people who may know more about commercial printing than you do. That's why I said my example works best when the customer base is familiar with your product or service. I am fully aware that you have it much tougher than I do in that regard!

                      Best wishes.
                  • Re: How can I trust what you are saying?
                    LUCKIEST Guide

                    Trust is a relationship of reliance. A trusted party is presumed to seek to fulfill policies, ethical codes, law and their previous promises.

                     

                    Trust does not need to involve belief in the good character, vices, or morals of the other party. Persons engaged in a criminal activity usually trust each other to some extent. Also trust does not need to include an action that you and the other party are mutually engaged in. Trust is a prediction of reliance on an action, based on what a party knows about the other party. Trust is a statement about what is otherwise unknown -- for example, because it is far away, cannot be verified, or is in the future.
                    When you go to a Doctor, Dentist or Accountant for the first time, you are trusting.
                    With additional visit (assuming all goes correctly) you are building Trust.
                    LUCKIEST
                      • Re: How can I trust what you are saying?
                        Iwrite Pioneer
                        Interesting.

                        Then, when a business makes a claim about the product or service they offer there is an expectation that it will do what says. But the claim needs to have a level of believability to it. The trust building has already started. Retailers and restaurants have understood this, which is why they invest in designing a look that helps convey this - even before you make a purchase you have a feel for the quality based on the look.

                        Now, this may not be true for everyone but in general it is.

                         

                      • Re: How can I trust what you are saying?
                        MKTG.com.au Adventurer
                        This is a big toughie.

                        I think the problem exists as some bad apples have fallen into the industry (as they do in every industry) and done some dodgy things and it makes the rest of us (who are NOT like those bad apples) have a cloud over our heads unnecessarily. We cant make everyone trust us and I don't think any industry these days has a nice blanket of trust covering them. My personal method is to be very honest and upfront in all my business dealings. The way I gain trust is by satisfying my clients and really impressing them with degrees of results and not big noting myself from the start and then under delivering (guaranteed to jack anyone off). I also make sure everyone I work with is qualified and experienced to hold their position so they don't let me down and I in turn minimise the risk in letting my clients down. Overall, trust is earned, it should never be assumed.

                        PS: on a lighter note, its nice to discuss topics with other professionals :)
                          • Re: How can I trust what you are saying?
                            Iwrite Pioneer
                            I agree.

                            I think an instant messaging feature would be a cool tool to add to this site!

                            I guess, I was trying to get us to think about what we are saying in our marketing and advertising to clients, customers and consumers. Some of my clients try to put everything including the kitchen sink into their marketing, but it would be more effective if they honed in on one message and said it well.

                            Speak to people not at them.

                              • Re: How can I trust what you are saying?
                                MKTG.com.au Adventurer
                                Totally agree with you. But I think its what people are doing that is causing the non trust issues. Whether they are writing shonky ads or making phoney presentations/workshops etc, it boils down to what they are doing that ends up blowing the trust.

                                Recently, I went to a 'marketing' small business presentation and the guy from Australia told us all how he was in a band for 10 years, couldnt make it as a musician so went in to marketing! Then he proceeded to use scare tactics for the audience and flogged his range of 'marketing' cds at the end. I was horrified. He was such a shonkster. But he claimed himself to be a marketing expert (no basis) and was peddling his clueless messages to small businesses who were seriously never going to get anything out of it. Those poor people were going to come away and the next time someone asks them to look at marketing for their business they will run a mile and say 'we tried marketing, it doesnt work' - all based on the dodgy cd 'marketing' 'expert'.